Archive for the ‘E-commerce’ Category

The recession is starting to push hard against the retail industry and is having a big impact on sales. This usually has a trickle down affect for the credit card processing business. Many retailers are getting their chips in-line to be able to market itself efficiently during the new, tougher economy. This past holiday season was a good test for the retail industry on the new less is more buying mentality. Former JCP CEO made a statement that described this perfectly and I quote “I never saw anyone go out of business because they didn’t have enough of something.” So what are retailers suppose to do? You can only cut prices so low. Retailers should create themselves a niche or leg up over the competition. Such as JCP has created over 20 different private label brands that you will not find anywhere else. Having an exclusive brand keeps your customers coming back time and time again. Being green is another business concept that is on the rise as well. How retailers operate and the products they sell are becoming more green than ever before. Organic goods is one popular item that is increasing in demand. Many retailers like Wal-mart and Target are also incorporating as many green products as possible in their building’s designs when creating or renovating a store.

When times are not great, every business should reevaluate their overhead and cut any unnecessary expenses that do not have a big impact on the bottom line or day to day operations. One of the most common areas business owners cut is advertising & marketing. Granted, this may be a very big expense, but it probably should never be cut. Instead, you may want to consider increasing this particular expense. Without new customers, your business will not be able to thrive and make it through the tough times. Customer service is another common area that usually finds itself cuts but probably should not. Customer service and advertising are some of the most important areas to any business. You must continue bringing in new customers while taking care of the ones you have.

Some possible areas you can cut could be: Technology – Most of us can live without all the latest gadgets & cool toys. Start focusing on all the new technology purchases and eliminate anything that is not really necessary. Telephone – because VOIP has been rapidly growing these last few years, traditional (analog) phone service companies are becoming more competitive. Call your phone company and see if they will cut you a deal or give you a discount. Energy – many areas have a choice in electricity companies. If you are in one of those areas, do some shopping around. Switching electric providers can be a very easy task. Supplies & Inventory – consider keeping smaller quanities of your office supplies and try to keep a tighter control on inventory. Just like what many retail merchants are doing today, keep as little quantity of a product as possible. You want enough inventory on the shelf to sustain sales, but not anything excessive that will be collecting dust. Lastly, credit card processing fees. We are receiving numerous calls lately on merchants wanting to switch to reduce their processing costs. Last week, we received a pricing proposal from one of the Trump International hotels, so merchants of types & sizes are looking at their processing costs.

The recession is starting to push hard against the retail industry and is having a big impact on sales. This usually has a trickle down affect for the credit card processing business. Many retailers are getting their chips in-line to be able to market itself efficiently during the new, tougher economy. This past holiday season was a good test for the retail industry on the new less is more buying mentality. Former JCP CEO made a statement that described this perfectly and I quote “I never saw anyone go out of business because they didn’t have enough of something.” So what are retailers suppose to do? You can only cut prices so low. Retailers should create themselves a niche or leg up over the competition. Such as JCP has created over 20 different private label brands that you will not find anywhere else. Having an exclusive brand keeps your customers coming back time and time again. Being green is another business concept that is on the rise as well. How retailers operate and the products they sell are becoming more green than ever before. Organic goods is one popular item that is increasing in demand. Many retailers like Wal-mart and Target are also incorporating as many green products as possible in their building’s designs when creating or renovating a store.

n today’s market place more and more consumers are expecting Internet merchants to offer free shipping. If you currently do not, isn’t it time you consider doing so? A recent report by an analyst showed that free shipping remains an important factoring in normal online sales. What I found interesting was that the average order amount was higher for merchants that offered free shipping. When an Internet store offers free shipping for purchases over $75 for example, it encourages consumers to spend more to receive the incentive. People like to receive free stuff. This encourages them to continue shopping to see if there is anything else they may like to buy. Merchants do have a cost by absorbing the shipping cost, but if it were to increase your average sale amount, that would very well pay for it. Plus, the extra bonus is you landed a customer that could very well come back many more times in the future. Look at Amazon, their profit margins are very slim, but they have a ton of repeat customers. Having larger sales does increase your merchant account fees, but then that is also something you must expect too.

This year may look very different for consumers in terms of big discounts unting-forecast-retail-and-auto.html> . Many large merchants are reporting that they plan on keeping their inventories low to cut operating costs. It is different for each industry though. For example, take the auto industry. They are slowly seeing a 15% increase in auto sales. The clothing store on the other hand, maybe one of the few markets that will still be heavily discounting to encourage consumers to keep shopping. However, the discounts may not be as big as last year. Deep discounts is a result of overstocking and big chain merchants should do a much better job this year controlling it. The economy doesn’t seem to be dropping anymore, but it will definitely take time for consumers to feel confident enough to start spending big bucks again. Business for us in the credit card processing industry took a big drop in December, but things seem to have picked back up after the new year. This is the main reason for such a delay in posting a new topic. We are seeing more merchants calling us that are interested in switching processors to save a little bit on their processing fees.

A few years ago, I decided to give my six nieces and nephews something
different for Christmas. Instead of the usual Barbie dolls and G.I. Joes, I
gave each of them their very own e-commerce account. The lesson was simple:
When you have an online store open for business, you see the world through
the lens of an opportunist. From that point on they would see a problem as
an opportunity, and every item as a potential SKU. Despite my good
intentions, the children looked disappointed and some suspected this was
just a lame cover-up for losing the kid’s wish list that year. I explained
that this was their very own store they could design and manage in any way
they wished. And that I would be there helping them through every step.
After several “Won’t it be cool to be the only second grader with a store”
pitches, their confusion turned to anticipation of opening their stores-or
perhaps their next Christmas gifts.

I kept my promise and helped each of them find products to sell, find a
market, design a store for it, and merchandise, advertise, and monetize. One
sold custom book covers, another wooden boats made by her 4th grade class to
fund a whale watching trip (we made sure to advertise this point), but my
favorite was a store that sold anti-bullying gear. Items included
self-defense and child psychology books, as well as ‘kid-recommended’ hats,
shoes, and shirts guaranteed to make any would-be wimp appear too hip,
unbalanced, or well-connected to be bullied in the first place (we had to
look up the legal limitations the term ‘guarantee’ on this one). Two of the
young entrepreneurs even started a forum and blog for their products. What
started as a fun web project quickly became a lesson in social bookmarks,
wikis, hyper-niches, pay per clicks, conversion rates and capitalism.

Though none of the stores made a profit, the return on investment was beyond
our expectations. None of the stores exist today, but the lessons we
learned together live on. I learned how much I liked being their uncle;
they learned how much they liked being entrepreneurs. In truth, my gift was
no accident. It was my attempt to grow closer to my nieces and nephews
through a shared purpose. I wanted them to experience the satisfaction and
pride creating a business brings and more importantly how the process itself
can enrich their lives. Simply put, I create businesses to express myself
and connect with those that share my passion.

If animals are judged by their ability to survive, then entrepreneurs are
better animals. I have always respected those that took charge of their own
Fate. To resist the allure of job security and question the conventional
wisdom that promotes it. To me, opportunism and risk was a form of raw,
natural expression. Instead of fearing it, I wanted to teach the kids how
to embrace and control it. I wanted to teach them how to survive in the
world of business and take charge of their lives. I wanted to give them
enough confidence to adapt, persevere and succeed even after failing over
and over. In an increasingly competitive world, the ability to find and
create your own opportunities as though second-nature is the new security.
Leading others through it is the new Fortune 500.

“People and purpose,” my father always said. This is why I love building
businesses. The camaraderie and sense of purpose I feel when helping others
succeed in their business is the main reason I do it. The process of taking
an idea and turning it into a reality is the reason I keep doing it. I
suppose meaningful relationships are forged through meaningful endeavors. Or
as the kids would say, “the store gives me a reason to keep bugging you
Uncle G”. Whatever the reason, I’m glad I lost the kid’s wish list that
year.

The battle is on, which credit card processing pricing plan should your business be using? 3-Tiered pricing or Interchange plus? This is the question many larger merchants may be asking themselves, including merchants that process $10,000+ a month in volume. Before we go into the details, here are the basics: Visa & MasterCard have several dozen rates known as Interchange that determines the rate a merchant must pay for a particular transaction. The applicable Interchange rate is determined by various circumstances, such as was the card swiped, keyed-in with(out) AVS, is a business, corporate or reward cards.

About GordonGus
"Whether selling products, services or information I have helped others succeed online by clarifying goals, simplifying technologies, motivating players and executing tasks. My energy and perseverance has helped others reach their goals. Of course, some wanted to shoot me in the process."
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